Archives

Lent – Another Chance to Get Beyond the Blur

1 comment
Cross

Have you ever stared out the side window of a car?  Even if you are only going 35 mph, the scenery is a blur.  No matter how hard you try to focus, your eyes can’t keep up.  Trees and signs and houses all go past you in an indistinct mix of shapeless colors.

Sometimes life feels like that.

I’m sure that every age has considered themselves busy, but I think that this generation has taken it to a new level.  Never before has it been so easy to sign up for everything and focus on nothing.  If we don’t say “No” five times a day then we will find ourselves enrolled in more events and opportunities than our calendar can handle.  And so, life becomes a blur.

Only by purposefully slowing down and focusing on what is important are we able to escape this rat race.  This change of focus is like looking through the front windshield instead of the side window.  By focusing our eyes on things far ahead of us, we will notice that the scenery slows down.

Paradoxically, by looking farther in the distance we see the important things more clearly.  

For Christians, Resurrection Sunday, aka Easter, is the high point of the year.  Don’t let its significance get lost in the urgency of the daily routine.

Spend some time in the next 40 days to focus your mind on Easter so that you can get beyond the blur.

 

Related Posts and Other Thoughts:

“Part of celebration is anticipation.”

-Pastor Phil Ellsworth

 

Lent: From 60 to Zero

How good are your brakes? Let’s slow our lives down as we approach Easter – we don’t want to miss it!

Lent:  A Family Tradition

Irenaeus celebrated Lent.  Do you?  Everyone knows that the pace of life gets out of control sometimes .  Lent is one way to take back control and slow down.  What are you planning to do?

Focus

When life’s pace pulls you along like whitewater rapids, what do you do to stop and focus?

Why We Celebrate Holidays

For those of you who are forgetful, distractible, and need to be entertained…have I got a deal for you!

Slowing Down at Christmas

Is it a fairy tale to think that you can slow down at Christmas?  Here are a few ideas and compromises we have made to take the hectic out of the holidays:

Lent: A Family Tradition

no comments
Cross

Lent has been a tradition for many members of our church family as far back as records are kept.  The early church leaders drew on the symbolism of the number 40 to create an annual time of preparation for the most important observances of their new Christian faith.  Like all traditions, some people have forgotten its original intent or simply go through the motions.  But like all traditions, it can add deeper meaning and rhythm to our busy and chaotic lives.

Last year I pointed out that I want to come to a full and complete stop this Easter season, so I need to start braking early.  (Why do I always use car analogies?)  The annual liturgical wheel has made yet another turn, and so it is time to think about it again.  This year I want to emphasize the way that we can help our kids prepare for Good Friday and Easter through the season of Lent.

As a parent, I set the cadence or the rhythm for the children in my home.  I like spending Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve preparing for Christmas, and I like to spend the 44 days before Good Friday preparing our family for Easter.  During this preparation, there are a lot of important lessons we can gather from Lent:  Continue reading

That’s Not Fair

no comments
NailCross

Bad Friday. Worse Saturday.  Glorious Sunday!

One night this week my kids and I read the beautifully written stories from the foot-washing through Resurrection Sunday in The Jesus Storybook Bible.  As we reached the part about the crucifixion, my 4-year old Luke summed it up best.  He looked at me with a concerned and indignant expression in his eyes, and said “That’s not fair!”

And he’s right.  It was horrifically, tragically unfair.  And that is the point. Continue reading

Passover Meal – How To

1 comment
PassoverTable

We have given you a lot of information over the last week about Passover. All this information can become overwhelming, so today we are going to try to tie it all together.  Hopefully it will help you plan your own complete Passover Meal.  If this seems too much or if your kids are too little, feel free to shorten it or just do the parts that you think the kids will understand. Each year you can add a new element. The making of the Matzah bread and the explanation of the Seder plate is a fun place to start.

 How to prepare for the Passover Meal Continue reading

Passover: The 4 Cups

1 comment
Cross

**Disclaimer: We have done a lot of research about Passover and Jewish Holidays but we are no experts. Our goal is to expose you to the deeper meanings behind the celebrations that God told the Jews to participate in every year. These are perfect opportunities to teach your children about God’s faithfulness and provision. It is also a great opportunity to remind your children that the God of the Old Testament is still alive and active in the world today. The Bible is full of knowledge and guidance to help us make wise decisions and show us the way to go. All we have to do is open it up read it. Our favorite resource on Jewish Holidays is www.jewsforjesus.org (They believe Jesus is the Messiah and explain His role in the Jewish traditions) and www.jewfaq.org (A Jewish website that goes in depth to each celebration.) **

Continue reading

Palm Sunday: Powerful and Peaceful, Mighty and Meek

no comments
Cross

For years Jesus had stealthily revealed His identity, quietly, to a few people.  He spoke in riddles, making sure that He got His message across without making it obvious.  Even when He healed people or otherwise gave a glimpse of his divinity He often asked them to keep His identity quiet.  “It isn’t the time yet,” He kept telling them.

Now the time had come!

Jesus was riding a wave of momentum into the holy Passover week.  He had just raised Lazarus from the dead before an amazed crowd of witnesses.  His ministry had reached a crescendo, just as the roads to Jerusalem swelled with 100,000 pilgrims, many of them from His home area where He had been ministering and teaching.  These were His people, and they were filled with pent up excitement.  Could this be the year?!?  Would this be the year that the new Moses led them out of their Roman slavery?  When the new Elijah overthrew the prophets of evil?  When the new David took possession of Israel’s throne? Continue reading

Passover: The Seder Plate

no comments
SederPlate

There are so many elements to the Passover meal. One that is full of symbolism is the Seder plate. During the Passover meal the father goes through the elements of the Seder Plate. The Seder plate is used to remind the Jews of the first Passover that happened so long ago. As they talk through the different elements they teach their children about God’s faithfulness and the hope of a Savior to come.

Praise God that today we understand that our Savior, Jesus Christ has come!  We can use this time to remember how God saved the Israelites from Egypt AND how Jesus saved us once and for all from our own sins. Because of this wonderful gift we can spend eternity with Christ. Continue reading

Passover: Deep Meanings Behind the Tradition

no comments
Cross

Pesach or Passover is a beautiful celebration of God’s redemption of the Israelites from Egypt. There is a lot of preparation that goes into the Passover meal, but each part has such a deep meaning. When God commanded the Israelites to celebrate Passover every year, He was actually revealing to them His ultimate redemption plan. Unfortunately many of the Jews were unable to connect the dots and realize their Messiah did come and fulfill all that God had promised. As you read about their Passover celebration see if you can see the hidden, deeper meanings.

You can read about the first Passover in Exodus chapter 12. This chapter talks about the conclusion of the 10 plagues that led to Pharaoh allowing the Israelites to leave Egypt. The Israelites were automatically exempt from the first 9 plagues, but they could only escape the tenth plague if they did exactly as God had instructed. Today death is our final plague, and if we do not do exactly what God says we will not escape this final “plague” no matter what our nationality is or what we have done. (See Romans 6:23, Romans 3:22-24 and Romans 10:8-10) Continue reading

Passover From Moses to Me

no comments
Cross

Ceremonies are important.  Ceremonies are used to create memories and make impressions.  As I look back over my life much of it is a blur, but many of the memories scattered throughout are tied to ceremonies like graduation and marriage. Celebrating Passover as a family allows us to stop and look back at all that God has done for us.  Even our now-4-year-old remembers celebrating Passover last year.  And the best part is that the ceremony ties us into something ancient. Continue reading

Countdown to Passover

no comments
Cross

Over the next two weeks we are going to break down Palm Sunday and the events leading up to Easter. We pray that this is a chance for you to grow in your knowledge of what Jesus did for you on the cross. We also pray that you are able to use some of these tools to teach your children about the most important gift that will ever be given to them.

There are so many activities, crafts and games that you can do to explain and teach these stories, but the most important tool we have is the Word of God. Below are some of the passages that we will be discussing. You can pick one each night to read as a family to start preparing your family for Easter. Continue reading